One of the people who recommended Geoff Molson hire Jeff Gorton was none other than NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
TORONTO — Rana Reider, coach of Canada’s Olympic champion Andre De Grasse, is facing an investigation for alleged sexual misconduct.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport has just begun investigating the 51-year-old Florida-based track coach, Reider’s lawyer Ryan Stevens said in a statement to The Canadian Press.
“We have received no evidence whatsoever about the claims,” Stevens said in the statement. “The SafeSport Code defines ‘sexual misconduct’ broadly.”
Stevens added that his client has not received a notice of allegations, meaning “their investigative efforts are incomplete or have just begun . . . Rana does not deserve to have his name and reputation dragged through the mud without any evidence or due process.”
The allegations against Reider have not been tested in court.
De Grasse, a 26-year-old from Markham, Ont., captured three medals at the Tokyo Games last summer, to become Canada’s most decorated male Olympian with six medals.
De Grasse and his partner Nia Ali, the reigning women’s world 100-metre hurdles champion from the U.S., left Phoenix to train with Reider in Jacksonville, Fla., in December of 2018.
SafeSport, which oversees sexual misconduct and other abuse allegations within the US Olympic and Paralympic community, said in a statement, “The United States Center for SafeSport does not comment on matters to protect the integrity of the investigative process.”
Athletics Canada said it has referred the matter to its Office of the AC Commissioner, which will co-ordinate with the U.S. agency.
“We will follow whatever orders or direction we get from the Office of the Commissioner,” Athletics Canada said in a statement.
Athletics Canada said, based on the information they have currently, no Canadian athletes are involved in allegations.
Reider’s Tumbleweed Track Club also features top British sprinter Adam Gemili and American Trayvon Bromell. He’s also coached notable athletes such as Dutch and American sprinters Dafne Schippers and Christian Taylor.
UK Athletics, Britain’s governing body for track and field, said in a statement to The Canadian Press that, based on information it received from SafeSport, “multiple complaints of sexual misconduct have been made against coach Rana Reider and that an investigation in the U.S. is imminent.”
Following the allegations, first reported by British newspaper the Guardian, UK Athletics instructed its athletes in Reiders’ group to cease training with the coach until the conclusion of the investigation.
“As part of UK Athletics commitment to ensuring appropriate conduct is consistent across all areas without any exceptions, we completed additional due diligence where issues have been raised about the support personnel of UK athletes,” UK Athletics said.
UK Athletics said its athletes who choose to remain part of his group will have their membership into the World Class Programme suspended, meaning they would lose funding and be excluded from international competitions.
De Grasse raced to gold in the 200 metres in Tokyo, plus bronze in the 100 and 4×100 relay.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2021.
The Montreal Canadiens are simply not the same team today as the one fans watched make an improbable post-season run less than half a year ago and over the weekend the team fired general manager Marc Bergevin after more than nine years with the organization.
“Despite the fact that this journey is coming to an end, I am proud of the legacy I’m leaving within the organization,” Bergevin, 56, wrote in a statement posted to the team’s website. “The current team is much better than the results show, and I am convinced that my successors will be able to rise to the challenge.”
Short-term, that legacy comment might be tough to hear if you cheer for the Canadiens considering five months ago your team was competing in the Stanley Cup Final, whereas just past the quarter-mark of 2021-22 the team ranks 30th in points percentage and are without their captain and franchise goalie.
Long-term, though, the outlook is brighter with Nick Suzuki, Christian Dvorak, Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia, Jeff Petry and David Savard locked up through at least 2025, plus the team’s 2022 draft pick stockpile is in above-average shape with four additional picks currently available as assets.
“The last years have been high in both emotions and learnings,” Bergevin added in his statement. “You have witnessed my journey leading the organization. You won’t be surprised to hear me say it has not been a long, quiet river, and at times, it felt like we were living in a TV show.”
And, like many TV shows, Bergevin’s moves ranged from good to bad to downright wild. So with that in mind and Bergevin’s tenure as Canadiens GM officially over, let’s look back at some of his best, worst and wildest moves whilst he sat in the team’s front office for nearly a full decade.
It’s pretty much a slam dunk answer that the best overall move Bergevin made for Montreal was acquiring Jeff Petry from Edmonton for second- and fourth-round picks in 2015 and eventually locking him up for an additional 10 cap-friendly contract years. Petry’s 170 points from 2017-18 through to the start of this season ranks 12th among all blueliners in the league.
Another great move from Bergevin was a deal he executed with his former team in 2016. No, the Canadiens weren’t able to re-sign Phillip Danault this past off-season, but that doesn’t negate what a great trade it ended up being for Montreal when Bergevin packaged Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise and sent them to Chicago for Danault and a second-round draft pick that became Alexander Romanov.
In 2018, with one year left before Max Pacioretty’s contract was set to expire, Bergevin looked to the future and received Suzuki and Tomas Tatar in exchange for the star winger. Pacioretty has continued scoring in Vegas, but Tatar provided solid depth during his three-year stint in Montreal and Suzuki is a key part of the franchise’s future.
Another recent move that has seen positive early returns was signing Tyler Toffoli to a four-year, $17 million contract two summers ago. The 29-year-old led the team in goals and points last season and is tied for the team lead in points through 23 games this season.
If you’ve happened to peruse social media over the years whenever Bergevin made a notable move then you likely read (and watched and listened to) copious hot takes lambasting Bergevin for his various decisions.
Obviously, not all criticism was warranted but one move that was universally questioned right from the beginning was when he inked Karl Alzner to a five-year contract worth more than $23 million on the open market in 2017. Alzner was a depreciating asset by NHL standards at the time and the experiment had somewhat predictable results. Alzner only played one full season in Montreal and was placed on unconditional waivers in 2020.
The 2012 NHL Draft wasn’t incredibly rich with NHL all-stars, and Alex Galchenyuk has played close to 600 NHL games, however his selection at No. 3 overall didn’t provide much relative value to Montreal. It was Bergevin’s first draft as GM. Galchenyuk reached the 20-goal plateau twice in his first four seasons, but never developed into the elite top-line offensive threat Montreal had envisioned he’d become after his junior career with the Sarnia Sting.
Galchenyuk was traded to the Coyotes for Max Domi straight up in 2018. In 2020, Domi and a third-round pick were flipped to Columbus in exchange for Josh Anderson. Essentially, in relatively quick succession, Bergevin turned 2012’s No. 3 pick into the player selected 95th overall in the same draft.
Speaking of third-overall selections, Bergevin took Jesperi Kotkaniemi ahead of Brady Tkachuk, Quinn Hughes and others in 2018. Considering how that saga eventually ended (more on that below) it could be considered another L.
Although there’s certainly high hopes for Cole Caufield, Bergevin’s consensus best first-round selection with the Canadiens was when he chose defenceman Mikhail Sergachev with the ninth-overall pick in 2016. Sergachev only played four regular-season games with Montreal before he was traded to Tampa Bay for Jonathan Drouin. Sergachev has averaged more than 30 points and 18:30 minutes of ice-time per season with the Lightning and helped them win two Stanley Cups. Meanwhile, Drouin has a paltry 12 total goals since the 2018-19 campaign.
The selection of Logan Mailloux with the team’s 2021 first-round pick at the NHL Draft this past July was also a head-scratcher – for an entirely different set of reasons – and worth mentioning here.
Mailloux was criminally convicted and fined by Swedish authorities in December of 2020 for distributing without consent a photo of a woman performing a sexual act. The teenaged defenceman, a player with the OHL’s London Knights, released a statement prior to the 2021 NHL Draft asking teams to not select him. Suffice it to say Bergevin taking a prospect under these circumstances – in the first round no less – was awful optics and Bergevin was publicly panned for it.
When you include draft pick swaps, Bergevin made around 100 trades during his time in Montreal and none were bigger or more out-of-the-blue than when he traded P.K. Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber – one of three blockbuster moves on June 29, 2016 that shook up the NHL landscape in an exhilarating 23-minute sequence.
The kneejerk reaction from a large chunk of hockey media and fans alike was to quickly dub the Canadiens losers in the deal. Subban, after all, was the 2013 Norris winner and a finalist again in 2015 before he set a career high in goals and became a three-time Norris finalist in his second year with the Preds. Subban’s stock dropped in the years following as Weber settled in as a leader in Montreal’s locker room, was named captain in 2018 and helped lead a run the Cup final before injuries forced him away from the game.
That was quite the week for Bergevin in the summer of 2016 since five days earlier he traded Lars Eller to Washington for a pair of second-rounders and spent a pair of second-round picks to acquire Andrew Shaw from Chicago. The picks Montreal received from the Capitals didn’t turn into any viable NHL-calibre asset and one of the picks the Blackhawks got turned into Alex Debrincat.
Two days after adding Weber, Bergevin signed Alexander Radulov to his first NHL contract in several years after a notorious split from the Predators and leaving for the KHL four years prior.
While the Weber-Subban trade will go down as his most notable and wildest overall, another unexpected action (or inaction) was Bergevin deciding to not match the offer sheet Kotkaniemi signed with Carolina in September, just prior to the 2021-22 season.
There seems to be talk annually about which RFAs might sign an offer sheet, but it’s usually just hot air, and when it’s not teams usually quickly decide to match. Bergevin didn’t, Kotkaniemi left and Bergevin ended up using a compensatory first-round pick to swing a trade for Christian Dvorak so one day, with the benefit of hindsight, that offer sheet fiasco could could go down as a win for the franchise and one of Bergevin’s final lasting marks on the team.
Cristiano Ronaldo has hit back at comments made by Ballon d’Or organiser Pascal Ferre, saying the editor-in-chief of France Football “lied” about his rivalry with Lionel Messi.
Ferre told the New York Times on Friday that Manchester United forward Ronaldo’s sole ambition was to retire with more of the awards for the world’s best player than Messi.
Argentine Messi, who joined Paris St Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the close season, beat Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho to claim a record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or award https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/messi-claims-record-extending-seventh-ballon-dor-2021-11-29.
“Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for,” Ronaldo, who has won the award five times, said in an Instagram post on Monday.
“It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, in absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d’Or.”
France Football did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on Ronaldo’s post.
“I always win for myself and for the clubs I represent, I win for myself and for those who love me. I don’t win against someone,” added the Portugal forward.
“The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.”
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
One of the people who recommended Geoff Molson hire Jeff Gorton was none other than NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
“Gary and I have a great relationship and we talk about these things all the time,” Molson said Monday when asked if he had spoken with Bettman before hiring Gorton as the Canadiens’ new executive vice-president of hockey operations. “And when I have a situation that I’m trying to figure out, he’s one of those people that I trust and I rely on for his opinion. So when the name Jeff Gorton surfaced, for sure (he spoke to Bettman). Because he knows him, he works at the NHL — or he worked at the NHL as of yesterday — and so they got to know each other. He’s also been in the New York market. So, for sure, someone like Gary has a valued opinion and I value that.”
Gorton, who has signed a long-term contract with the Canadiens, had been working as an analyst with the NHL Network after being fired as GM of the New York Rangers in May.
A source told the Montreal Gazette that Bettman had also recommended Gorton for the GM job with Chicago after Stan Bowman resigned last month following an investigation that showed the Blackhawks had mishandled allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted a player during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010.
“I think when you do your research on Jeff Gorton, you find that he has a very good reputation not only as a person but as a general manager and as somebody who can build relationships,” Molson said. “When I met with him, I was thoroughly impressed. And when I talked to other people in my circle about him, there were nothing but positive things to say about him. So I think we’re all going to really like to have him here. It will be a breath of fresh air and a fresh start is really important to me.”
Gorton will lead the search for a new bilingual GM to replace Marc Bergevin and a new director of amateur scouting to replace assistant GM Trevor Timmins, who were both fired Sunday. Molson said his role won’t change.
“This decision to restructure the leadership of hockey operations has nothing to do with my role as president,” Molson said. “In the past, Marc was accountable for hockey performance, now there will be two (people). This is entirely my decision that I believe will make this team better.
“In terms of Jeff and what his vision is, I think Jeff is going to come here and we’re going to start a process to find the general manager that’s going to work alongside him,” Molson added. “But Jeff is going to come here and the new person is going to come here, and they’re going to assess the situation and they’re going to develop an identity that they want to have for this team and that’s their job — that’s not really my job. The one thing I can say about Jeff is he’s had many, many years of experience in various different roles, not only from a recruiting perspective or a scouting perspective, but also as assistant general manager and general manager of two teams (the Boston Bruins and the Rangers) and so to bring that breadth and depth of experience, I have no doubt that he and the new person will be able to develop a vision.”
When asked if Gorton and the new GM will be given carte blanche when it comes to making changes, Molson said: “The two of them will be working together to make good decisions for the good of the organization. … When something has to happen that’s team related, the general manager has to be the final responsible person in making that decision, has to be accountable for it. But as far as everything else goes, personally I live in the business world and I see my teams working together and making decisions together, and to have two people thinking about making a smart decision is way better than having one person, especially in this market.”
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